Associate of Arts Degree (A.A.) and Associate of Science Degree (A.S.)
The AA and the AS degrees are traditional 2-year degrees specifically designed to transfer to 4-year institutions for the purpose of completing a BA or a BS. They are often referred to as university parallel degrees. The general education requirements are what actually permit the degrees to be called Associates or Arts or Science. The difference between the AS and AA is minimal, with the AA permitting math courses and a science course that are not recognized under the AS degree. Read Colorado's Statewide Transfer Policy here.
Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.)
The Associate of Applied Science degree is rarely pursued by a student who intends to transfer to a 4-year school. It is primarily a degree that prepares a student to go directly into the workforce. It is typically a specific technical career that the student who seeks the AAS is seeking. Again, the general education requirements are less rigid with the AAS degree.
Certificates are 1-year technical programs that require no general education courses. Auto Tech, Agri-business, and Cosmetology are Certificate programs. English, math, science, etc. are not required to complete a certificate, although some students choose to take preparatory classes that might help them succeed in the program.